When you get to the point where you can no longer survive as an “army of one”, that means it is time to bring reinforcements…employees. Hiring and working with employees will be an adjustment, but it’s one you will thank yourself for later, particularly if you choose well.
One of the first skills you must learn is to delegate. Figure out what tasks you can afford to have someone else take care of for you. Think of it as your time is more valuable than doing basic follow-up and mailings anymore. As a small business, resources are always tight, so it’s important to get the most out of them. The same is true of your employees. If you do not utilize your employee’s full potential, you are wasting money. Pay as high a wage as you can and communicate with them upfront about your long-term goals. Nothing is worse then hiring an employee who leaves two months later, because they really didn’t see themselves in the long-term with your company.
What Kind Of Employee Do You Want? The obvious answer is the hardest working, most conscientious individual you can find at the lowest possible cost who is willing to work when you need them. But first, you need to really understand the staffing needs of your business. Whether it be sales coverage for the hours you have the doors open, a delivery person, a helper, technical support staff, or someone to answer phones, having a clear idea of how many hours you need them, the skills required, and the duration of the position, are keys to making the right hiring decision.
The job description – One of the first things you must do, once you have considered what kind of help you need is to write a detailed job description. Writing a good job description is key to helping an employee do their job effectively. It will also clearly communicate your expectations of job performance. As an additional benefit you can also use this document as basis for their annual job review. Here are some tips in creating a solid job description:
- Create an exhaustive list of job tasks, then prioritize them. Try not to be overwhelming, just accurate.
- Divide the list into three categories: critical tasks, routine tasks, occasional tasks.
- Keep your job description to a page. (You do not want to scare away the person you are trying to hire.)
There are different types of employee that might meet your requirements:
- Full-Time — A full time employee generally works 40 hours a week and is paid overtime for hours worked over 40. While you do have requirements for paying Social Security, disability, federal and state taxes, you have options on whether you provide health, vacation, or retirement benefits. If the skill set you require of an employee is scarce, be prepared to offer competitive salary and benefit packages to attract the best talent.
- Part-time — A part-time employee generally works from 15—30 hours per week and can be a solid asset in covering hours, like nights and weekends, when your business might need to provide customer service support in off hours. Part-time help can provide great flexibility in meeting increased sales activity or in addressing a surge in call volumes.
- Temporary— A temporary worker or agency hire can generally be on the job within a few hours and quickly help you meet an increase in business needs. The time and expense of recruiting, screening, interviewing, and checking on prospective employees are eliminated and unsatisfactory candidates can be easily replaced with a phone call to the temporary agency.
- Contractors — This type of worker, also known as freelancers or 1099 employees, can be very valuable in meeting your business needs, especially short-term, complex tasks, without adding to payroll. They work for a straight hourly rate and are responsible for their own payroll taxes. If you pay a contractor over $600.00 you are require to send a 1099 tax form to them and the IRS to report their income. You define the scope and timing of the project that you want done, negotiate the price and specify the benchmarks.
- Interns — College students working toward their degrees are often encouraged or required to participate in internship and coop programs that relate to their field of study. This can be a low- or no- cost source of labor for your company. In return for their labor, you give them college credits and experience in your business. Ideally, you can assign them projects that will test their skills, teach them new skills and bring value to your business.
Now that you have some ideas of what kinds of workers are available, please go and get some help for your small business. For more advice on this topic, check out my book, Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months.
Let me know about your first hiring experience.
For more tips on how start or grow your small business subscribe to Melinda Emerson’s blog http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com.